11 Apr Covid-19: What is a safe running distance?
A friend showed me this Belgian-Dutch study from Medium.com and I felt the responsibility to share. More people are out exercising to get out of the house, build up fitness and to boost their immune system. Even though you need to run in isolation, you are still crossing paths with other individual runners. Typical social distancing permits 1-2 meters distance however this relates to those standing still, inside, or outside with low wind. So, what distances should runners be aware of?
This article references several studies and refers to the ‘cloud of droplets’ a runner will make when travelling at a faster speed. Of course, a bigger cloud would be created if a runner were to sneeze, cough or undergo heavy breathing, but it’s better to be on the safe side especially when overtaking a runner.
The risk of contamination is the greatest when people are just running behind each other (in each other’s slipstream). Depending on the speed you both are travelling, the distance of separation will change. Don’t just consider the unlikelihood of these droplets contacting your face, but as these droplets are slowly falling to the ground, they could land on your clothing for you to touch later in the day.
This study suggests from walkers, avoiding a slipstream of 4-5meters, for runners up to 10 meters and cycling at least 20 meters. If you are approaching a runner and getting within this distance, you should already be approaching at a safe diagonal and outside of this slipstream.
Like I said, it is better to be on the safe side. Enjoy your run, keep fit and healthy & wash those hands!